Sunday, April 22, 2007

Psychology of laughter

What is laughter? Laughter is a form of outward expression of amusement, pleasure, mirth and at times, other emotions. It may ensue (as a physiological reaction) from jokes, tickling and other stimuli. Inhaling nitrous oxide can also induce laughter; other drugs, such as cannabis, can also induce episodes of strong laughter. Strong laughter can sometimes bring an onset of tears or even moderate muscular pain as a physical response to the act.

Laughter is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain. It helps humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and provides an emotional context to conversations. Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group — it signals acceptance and positive interactions.
Modern neurophysiology states that laughter is linked with the activation of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which produces endorphins after a rewarding activity: after you have a good meal, after you have sexual intercourse and after you understand a joke.

It has been shown that laughing helps protect the heart. Doctors say that with deep, heartfelt laughter, it appears that serum cortisol, which is a hormone that is secreted when we’re under stress, is decreased. So when you’re having a stress reaction, if you laugh, apparently the cortisol that has been released during the stress reaction is reduced.

Laughter can help to reach physical fitness. It has been estimated by scientists that laughing 100 times equals the same physical exertion as a 10 minute workout on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on a stationary exercise bike. Laughing works out the diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles.

In conclusion, laughter is not just emotional expression, but also free drug from diseases too.


janina said...

hi hi..i agree with opinion that laughter is a free drug:D by the way..the idea about laughter and fitness is cool too!;D

Gilmante said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gilmante said...

I also agree with Janina about fitness and laughter idea. :) what is more, it was surprise for me to read that laughter can help to protect the heart. very interesting!

bastete said...

Very nice picture ! I liked your sentence "Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group" , it is really true. When you are alone, you don't laugh. Of course you can do this, but from your remembrance of somebody.